Crossed Bones by S.W. Lauden

She would have made a great detective, if she didn’t like breaking the law so much.

Shayna Billups is not a woman to be trifled with. As ruthless and conniving as she is beautiful and charming, Shayna will go to any lengths to get the things she wants in life—namely, money and a good time.

Having put ex-flame Tommy Ruzzo’s heart through a blender in Crosswise, the book that introduced Shayna and Tommy to readers, Shayna has left Tommy reeling in Florida, and settled in New Orleans.

While working in a pirate-themed bar, she learns of the legend of Captain Aurora and the treasure he buried somewhere off the East coast. The legend takes on new significance when she happens upon a portion of the map that supposedly leads to the pirate’s cache. Always up for an adventure, and the chance at some easy money, Shayna follows the map’s clues to Stonehaven, North Carolina, and begins hunting for the hidden loot.

Back in Florida, Tommy has hit rock bottom, working a dead-end job and drinking far too much. Convinced he will never be able to move on with his life without giving things one more try with Shayna, he sets off to find her, determined to make it work this time. What unfolds once Tommy tracks down Shayna is gonzo, all-out action.

Shayna has assembled a crew of drug-dealing pirate impersonators—Stonehaven is a pirate-happy tourist town—who find themselves embroiled in a bloody turf war with a vicious biker gang over the map and the treasure, not to mention the drug dealing. In town less than a day, Tommy somehow finds himself caught in the middle of the two warring factions.

If it sounds a little over-the-top, that’s because it gloriously is. Author S.W. Lauden has taken what could have been a straightforward, and therefore boring, tale of hunting for lost treasure and turned it on its ear with a premise—pirates searching for buried pirate treasure while fending off bloodthirsty bikers—just off-the-wall enough to give it a sense of irreverence.

Make no mistake, however, this is no lighthearted romp. From arson to drugs to beatdowns and even murder, the stakes are both very real and very high, making Crossed Bones a fast-paced caper that at the same time never loses the sense of danger and desperation that result when people spiral down into obsession, be it love (Tommy) or greed (Shayna).

Crossed Bones is available from Down & Out Books.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock PI series, including Bad Citizen Corporation and Grizzly Season (Rare Bird Books). His Tommy & Shayna Crime Caper novellas include Crosswise and Crossed Bones (Down & Out Books). Upcoming events, author interviews, and the latest episode of the Writer Types podcast can be found on his author website.

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